Hell came to Snowflake, Arizona in a cherry red 89 Mustang. Hell Jaxon Smith was easy on the eye and could con God and get away with it. He was my white knight and after a perfect fairy tale romance, I married him.
Yup. Biggest mistake of my life. I’ll admit I was ripe for the plucking. I had an MBA in Business, but my life revolved around caring for my dying grandmother and her farm. I felt isolated and lonely. I was thirty-seven years old and the highlight of my life was going to church, instead of attending high-octane business meetings. God, did I miss being Annie Russell, the master negotiator.
When my beloved grandmother fell ill, I had no choice but to leave it all behind. Mumsy Olivia had given up her career to raise me and I couldn’t let her die alone. She had inherited her gifts from her mother and Mumsy taught me how to use my unique talents. We were all that was left of the powerful McAllister clan from the Scottish Highlands. Some called us witches, but there was no magic involved. We were simply psychics.
Watching Mumsy die was so hard. My grief was eating me alive and having an attractive man approach me at the supermarket was flattering. Hell saved my sanity and gave me something positive to focus on. Being wooed by Hell was intoxicating and exciting. For the first time in years, I felt alive. I was giddy with joy when he told me he loved me.
It didn’t take me long to realize Prince Charming he wasn’t. Hell was six feet of pure ornery. He had a wandering dick and could never find the “right” employment opportunity. Working our farm wasn’t appropriate for a man of his talents. The day I received the money from my grandmother’s estate, he went on a seventy-thousand-dollar spending spree. I was beyond stunned. What kind of man had I married?
Any hope of saving our marriage vanished the day I caught him in bed with our neighbor. I might have understood, if she had been a hot chick. But Mable was eighty-five and had the bad habit of forgetting her dentures. The shock of seeing the love of my life humping a geriatric granny rendered me mute. For a long moment, I watched her dimpled white butt as it bounced up and down. The expression on Hell’s face made me want to vomit. He was getting off on doing her.
Fury drove away the pain. I dropped my mental shields and scanned his mind. It seems we had both been keeping secrets. He didn’t know I was psychic. I didn’t have a clue Hell was a wanted felon and the only thing he loved about me was my money. The pervert had been wooing Mable in the hope she would put him in her will.
So, it seemed I had married a conman and was a complete and utter idiot. I smiled. This idiot was going to teach my husband the true meaning of hell.”
I backed out of the room and plotted my revenge. Hell had started using a popular baldness drug that had some nasty side effects. It caused men’s genitals to shrink, and within a month 80 percent of users became impotent. I tripled his dose and to my delight he couldn’t get it up. Not even with the little blue pill.
I transferred all my money to a different bank and sold the new Mustang he had bought with my inheritance. That’s when I discovered Hell had a nasty temper and he found out about my psychic powers. He swung on me. I ducked his fist and punched out mentally, knocking him on his ass. Every time he got up, I dropped him again.
Shock, rage and disbelief flashed across his face. “What kind of freak are you?”
“One you don’t want to mess with. I’m filing for a divorce. Get out.”
“I didn’t sign a prenup. Half of everything you own is mine,” Hell spat.
Crap, he was right. I levitated him off the floor. “Leave before I kill you.”
Hell’s eyes practically bugged out of his head. “I’m calling the cops and having you arrested for assault.”
“Go ahead. I haven’t laid a finger on you. Yet.” I tossed him out the door and threw the suitcase I had packed after him. “Don’t come back.”
Hell smirked. “You can’t throw me out. I have a legal right to be here. But you know what, sweetheart, I can get a restraining order that gives me sole use of this property and the only one forced to leave, will be you.”
I frowned. This obviously wasn’t his first rodeo. Sheriff Flake was a friend of mine, but could he stop Hell? Probably not. God, why hadn’t I scanned his mind before I married him. A single tear ran down my cheek. Because I wanted the fairy tale to be true.
“I’m taking the car.” Hell kicked the screen door. “Gimme the keys.”
“No. You’re leaving with what you brought into our marriage. Your old mustang is in the post office parking lot.” I summoned bees from my neighbor’s hives. “Leave now.”
“Make me,” Hell snarled.
“Ok.” I had the huge swarm attack Hell.
Swatting wildly at the stinging insects, Hell ran down the driveway. “You fucking bitch, you’re gonna be sorry you ever messed with me.”
I hollered back, “Show your face around here again, and bees will be the least of your problems.”
“You don’t scare me,” Hell shouted.
He wanted to play, game on. Opening the gate to the pasture, I let Brutus out. He was a cankerous Brahma bull I rented out to the rodeos. No rider had ever lasted eight seconds on him. “Sic him Brutus.”
My loving husband took one look at the monstrous bull charging toward him and bolted. “You’re a dead woman,” Hell shrieked. Just before he hit the town limits, I called Brutus back.
Getting a big glass of iced tea, I sat on the porch and waited for the sheriff.
He never came. Neither did Hell. The Tai-Kok had attacked and nothing was ever the same again. The alien blitzkrieg laid waste to most of Europe and the Middle East. The news medias’ horrific stories about the Tai-Koks butchery made it clear. You fought, or you died.
Our military knew it was only a matter of time, before they hit North America. The Jones clan stepped up. Their psychic abilities gave the world an early warning system, allowing people time to get to the underground shelters, before the Tai-Kok and their ally, the Rodan, could chow down.
I didn’t belong to the Jones clan, but I could put my psychic skills to good use. Sheriff Flake knew about my special abilities and asked me to join the local militia. I was assigned to mentally patrol northern Arizona for any signs of the aliens. I learned the art of war from Tex, a retired Army Ranger. If I say so myself, I’m a damn fine shot and a whizz at building bombs.
We mainly fought the Rodan. The freaks looked like a rat had mated with a T-Rex. They stood about five feet tall, had black armor-plated skin and used their tails as a weapon. Like the Tai-Kok, they were always hungry.
I loved killing the monsters. It helped me get rid of all that pent-up rage and grief. My zeal made my fellow soldiers a bit nervous. When I walked onto the battlefield, they quickly got out of my way. I hammered the Rodan and Tai-Kok warriors’ minds with what I called mental grenades. When they hit. Boom! Their brains turned to mush.
The one good thing that resulted from the Tai-Kok and Rodan attacks was it unified humanity. For the first time in recorded history every country on Earth joined forces to fight the alien invaders and Central Command was born.
The Tai-Kok ate their way across Asia until they had the bad luck to capture Assad, a suicide bomber, and take him aboard their ship for snack time. Back then, the alien freaks didn’t search their food for weapons. Big mistake. Assad’s entire family had been massacred by the monsters and he allowed himself to be caught. Assad blew himself up over the Pacific and the badly damaged ship crash landed outside of Tucson, Arizona. The military salvaged their technology and have been using it against them ever since.
Rumor has it, while Kaylee Jones was scanning the solar system for our enemies, she made the mistake of psychically linking with Talree, a Coletti warlord. It turned into one hell of a “first” contact. Talree claimed Kaylee as his mate. I would have shot his horny ass.
Kaylee’s warlord did agree to stop the Tai-Kok and Rodan from raiding our world. But the bad news was, warlords aren’t benevolent do-gooder types and there was a price for them helping us. All of Earth’s psychic women.
Yep, testosterone ruled the galaxy too. The Colettis' tendency to take things that didn't belong to them had consequences.
Six hundred years ago, the Coletti race had almost been wiped out in the Great Galactic War. The chemicals used in the war created a genetic anomaly and only one female baby was born for every one thousand Coletti males. In other words, they were facing extinction.
To save his people, Zarek, the Overlord of the Coletti clans, did what any fiercely protective warlord would do. He started raiding other planets and species for their prized psychic females. When the Overlord discovered the Jones family’s unique psychic powers and their blood’s ability to heal cellular damage, he promptly seized control of Earth.
The second Zarek signed the treaty promising to protect Earth from Tai-Kok and Rodan raids, Central Command arrested every Jones serving in the military. They injected them with a tracking device and gave them to the Coletti. The Jones Sirens had stopped the monsters from slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people and that was the thanks they got? My fellow soldiers were a bit more grateful and kept their mouths shut about me.
General Georgina Tasker said surrendering the Jones to the Coletti was for the greater good. Billions of lives in exchange for a few psychics. It was a win-win situation for Central Command. With the Coletti warbirds circling overhead, they didn’t need Jones Sirens to warn of an imminent attack or their ability to bring down the Tai-Kok ships.
The alliance with the Coletti turned out to be a blessing. With the help of the Askole, Gorum and Katanic shapeshifters, the Tai-Kok were wiped from existence. Unfortunately, the Rodan stepped up to fill the void. Their attacks always coincided with our planetary defensive systems going down. Which gave the mutant dinosaurs time to capture several hundred people before retreating. It didn’t take General Saul Jones long to realize most of the individuals being taken had psychic abilities. Doing a little mental eavesdropping, I found out we had traitors in Central Command and the General was searching for them.
I would have helped them track down the turncoats, but Central Command began enacting all sorts of stupid laws. Anyone with psychic abilities was to report to the local military base, fill out registration paperwork, and get chipped like a fucking animal. You faced fines and jail time if you refused. The Overlord must have a lot of horny warriors he needed to placate.
A lot of families chose to hide their psychic daughters, sisters and cousins. Central Command upped the ante by offering a large reward for people to rat them out. They counted on greed winning over honor and to a degree it worked. If my loving husband knew where I was, he’d sell me in a heartbeat.
The planetary defenses had gone down again. After a particularly bloody battle, I drove my ATV back to our camp outside of Sedona. To my utter shock Hell was waiting for me.
He gave me his best charming smile and handed me some wilted wildflowers. “For the longest time I thought you were dead. When I came back home, the house was nothing but ashes. It felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.”
I rolled my eyes. “You seriously expect me to believe that?”
“It’s the truth,” Hell declared earnestly.
“The money is gone.”
Anger flashed across his face. “I don’t care about the money.”
I laughed. I wasn’t a naïve fool anymore.
“That hayseed sheriff told me you were still alive and had joined Arizona Recon as an advance scout. I searched everywhere for you. Then I heard rumors about a woman who could kill the aliens with her mind. I knew it was you. You’re the Reaper everyone whispers about.”
How flattering. “What do you want?”
“I was a fool to let you go. Please, I need you in my life. Can you ever forgive me?”
I dropped my shields and scanned his mind. Shit. “You’re such a liar. You don’t love me. You’re a fucking bounty hunter. You’re planning on selling me to Central Command for twenty thousand credits.”
“You’re coming with me.” Hell’s charming demeanor vanished, and he pulled a pistol. “A bullet hole or two won’t diminish your value.”
Tex stepped out of a tent and cracked him upside the head with his rifle butt.
Hell grunted and crumpled to the ground.
“This is the asshole you married?” Tex spat a stream of chewing tobacco on the ground.
I grinned when it splattered across Hell’s face. “Not one of my better decisions.”
“I’ll have the boys drop him off at Montezuma Militia headquarters. They’re always lookin’ for fresh meat.”
“Who knows, they might make a man out of him.” My shoulders sagged. I always knew sooner or later the number of kills our squad reported would attract attention. If Hell had found me, it wouldn’t be long before the Coletti hunters were on my trail. It was time for me to move on. I held out my hand. “It’s been a pleasure serving with you.”
Tex shook it. “You’re a damn fine soldier. Watch your back.”
“I will.” Grabbing my pack, I carried it over to my jeep and headed south.
I called a friend and found out the Old Tucson theme park was looking for a manager for their gift shop and the Painted Lady Saloon. It sounded like the perfect job. Who would think to look for me there?